GOP considers releasing intel behind memo alleging FISA abuses

Top House Republicans are considering publicly releasing some of the underlying intelligence behind a memo spearheade...

Posted: Jan 22, 2018 2:07 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2018 2:07 PM

Top House Republicans are considering publicly releasing some of the underlying intelligence behind a memo spearheaded by Rep. Devin Nunes that alleges FBI abuses of surveillance laws.

Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, met with Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy while the House was in session during the shutdown this weekend to discuss the prospect of releasing some of the intelligence to support the findings of the classified memo, which was prepared by Nunes and Republican committee staff, multiple Republican lawmakers told CNN.

Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, confirmed that the three chairmen were meeting about moving the process forward under House rules.

Republicans on and off the House Intelligence Committee are pushing for the release of Nunes' four-page memo alleging abuses of the surveillance law known as FISA related to the opposition research dossier on Donald Trump and Russia. The committee could use an obscure rule to bypass the normal declassification process, with a vote that would put the decision to make the memo public in the President's hands.

"It's like any document you put out, it should be referenced, footnoted - it should have the appropriate underlying reference to the material and to the degree that you can, show that material," said Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who has called for the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller and the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"I think the memo is accurate, but I think just because we know what the other side's argument is going to be, you need that," Jordan added.

Democrats say the memo's findings are skewed and contain no more than partisan talking points, and they warn that releasing the memo will harm Congress' relationships with the Justice Department and intelligence community.

But Republicans appear to be charging ahead with their plan to publicly release the document and potentially some of the underlying intelligence so long as sources and methods are not disclosed.

"If we're going to go through the process anyway of declassifying the memo, are there some of the supporting documents that might not reveal sources and methods but might answer key questions that the memo does raise?" said Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who has been among the most vocal Republican critics of Mueller's probe. "Chairman Goodlate and Chairman Gowdy and Chairman Nunes each sort of have jurisdiction over elements, and they are meeting and discussing a process now that I think will lead to greater transparency."

Nunes declined to comment on his discussions with Gowdy and Goodlatte. "I don't talk about committee business," Nunes said.

Gowdy and Goodlatte's offices did not respond to a request for comment.

The Nunes memo focuses on the FBI's use of the dossier on Trump and Russia compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and paid for through Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The document alleges that the FISA judge who signed off on surveillance warrants for members of Trump's team during the campaign was not given full information about the dossier that was used in at least one application, including that it was paid for by the Democratic sources, CNN reported Saturday.

CNN first reported last April that the dossier was used as part of the justification with the secret FISA court to monitor the communications of former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

While the FBI used information beyond the dossier to support the court application, the dossier was cited in footnotes to specific allegations, according to current and former US officials briefed on the matter. Steele was considered by the bureau to be a credible FBI source, so using the material was not out of line with FBI practice, according to the current and former officials.

On Thursday, the Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to allow all House members to view the four-page classified memo, which has sparked a conservative effort to release it, complete with a Twitter hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo.

Democrats have accused the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee of using a set of talking points to try to discredit the FBI and protect Trump.

"Their only priority is to protect the President and their political fortune, and they're willing to burn down the FBI and anything else if they need to do it," said California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence panel. "It would be a real betrayal of the intelligence community for partisan political reasons."

Conaway, however, argued that the executive branch would still have the chance to review and weigh in on making the materials public, as the committee rules give the President five days to object if the committee votes to make the document public.

"We believe it's important enough, given the players involved, to take this step, and there's one other step before those, and that is the White House gets to make an independent review of that," Conaway said.

Trump himself has been skeptical of the intelligence community and FBI, and he calls the Russia investigations and the dossier a "hoax" and "witch hunt."

"I would not expect President Trump to want to keep these things from the public," Gaetz said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
Oktibbeha401681
Panola378380
Pontotoc372155
Monroe3628105
Warren3619101
Union350563
Marshall349569
Neshoba3433152
Pearl River3380104
Leflore3079108
Lincoln300687
Sunflower289272
Hancock285360
Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
Yazoo250156
Prentiss249552
Tippah245850
Copiah244549
Coahoma243654
Simpson240069
Leake234367
Grenada221171
Marion218473
Covington216972
Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
Tishomingo192461
Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
Greene76723
Coosa62215
Choctaw51624
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